Primordial Soup

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Chapter 1

Privates Deakin and McFarland, equipped with automatic weapons and spraying equipment, were bringing up the rear of a patrol searching a wooded area for stragglers. Nottingham had been the last boundary that needed to be cleansed.

They was no need to search out the creatures; with their fearless craving for flesh the creatures found them. There had been a few close calls, but with their arsenal of weapons they had soon been dispatched and turned into a sticky black puddle.

The sight of a powerfully built misshapen beast running at them, or jumping out from the undergrowth intent on devouring them was enough to cause many sleepless nights

‘Bloody creepy in here,’ said Deakin.

‘I won’t be sorry to get back to camp,’ McFarland agreed.

‘We ain’t seen or heard a single creature in days, maybe they’re all gone. None of the other units have seen any either.’

‘Let’s hope you’re right and that this is the end of it. At least in Iraq we knew what to expect. I’d rather face a hundred terrorists than one of those bloody things. That last one we killed, what an ugly bastard that was, reminded me of your wife Kev.’

Deakin laughed. ‘More like your mum you mean. It’s like shooting rats in a barrel though, it gets boring after a while. Still, at least the diesel gets rid of the buggers, we’d have been right in the...’

The soldiers in front had suddenly stop moving forward. Deakin and McFarland caught up to them in a small clearing.

The sound of wings flapping and a loud clicking noise invaded the silence of the woods.

‘What’s up Sarge?’ asked Deakin.

The Sergeant put his finger to his lips.

‘What’s is it?’ McFarland whispered to Deakin.

‘Sounds like birds,’ Deakin whispered.

‘Get in formation. Now,’ the Sergeant ordered.

The soldiers crouched down and formed a circle, weapons at the ready.

‘Keep quiet, and keep your eyes peeled.’

The sound seemed to be coming from all around them. The soldiers looked around the clearing, scanning the bushes and trees and especially the shadowed area’s where creatures might be hiding, waiting to attack.’

Private Tapler leaned over to the Sergeant. ‘Sounds like it’s coming from above.’

All eyes looked towards the canopy.

The Sergeant stood up. ‘It’s just birds’ lads. They must be coming back now the creatures are gone.’

‘I don’t think its birds,’ said Tapler. ‘It’s too loud.’

The Sarge crouched back down.

As the soldiers remained in a tight circle, the light level dropped dramatically, plunging the clearing into near darkness.

‘What the fucks happening?’ cried Deakin.

‘Keep it together private.’

The sound of flapping wings reached a crescendo and the leaves in the clearing rustled under a strong breeze from above.

They all looked up at the canopy as the darkness descended. The sound of wings flapping reached a deafening roar in the confined space. A large black bird, blacker than the surrounding darkness, hit Tapler in the throat, knocking him backwards into the group. His screams were cut short as it tore through his suit as if it were tissue paper, ripping out his vocal cords along with most of his throat. Blood sprayed out in great jets, drenching the other soldiers in the warm coppery fluid as the creature devoured his flesh. Its talons shredded his suit in seconds and pierced deep into his chest.

The canopy, alive with thousands of the winged creatures, fell upon the soldiers.

They fired their weapons into the descending darkness. Jets of fire from flame guns lit up the clearing. The canopy burst into flame, but the soldiers were quickly overwhelmed by the volume of winged creatures.

Weapons fire and flame took out but a few of the beasts that numbered in their thousands.

Deakin, covered in creatures biting and tearing his flesh off in chunks, tried to make a run for it. He managed only a short distance before collapsing to the forest floor under the weight of them, where his flesh was devoured and his body quickly reduced to a pile of bones.

Streaks of light filtered down through the canopy of burnt trees, dappling the forest with its morning rays. The smoke drifting through the clearing highlighted the spokes of sunlight, creating a surreal image. The leaf litter was strewn with ragged strips of cloth and discarded weapons. A scattering of cleanly stripped bones and empty skulls, the cavernous eye sockets staring vacantly around the clearing stood out in stark contrast to the dark leaf litter.

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